Do you find staying on top of things while the kids are off a challenge? I know I do! It’s hard enough getting things done at the best of times, but finding time during the school holidays for the never-ending list of ‘mum jobs’ can feel like mission impossible. In between all the late nights and days out we still need to look after the home, do the washing, ironing, cleaning, food shopping and cook! So how do we stay on track whilst keeping the kids entertained and out of mischief? Is it possible to enjoy the summer break whilst still conquering our To Do lists?
Thankfully the answer is yes! After much trial, error, blood, sweat and tears (on my part!), I’ve found a few ways to stay on track when our normal routines are out of whack. I’ve learnt that with a bit of forward planning it is possible to have fun with my boys AND still get things done. The best part is you can do it too! This post reveals the strategies I’ve discovered that will help you stay on track while the kids are off this summer. Follow them and come September, I promise you won’t be playing catch up!
1. Still get up early
It can be tempting during the holidays to lay in that little bit longer because there isn’t the usual school morning routine to worry about. But don’t do it! That quiet time before everyone else gets up is my favourite part of the day. Not only is there time to think about the day ahead, it’s also possible to tick a few things off your list before the kids appear. You’ll have time to put on that load of washing. You’ll have time to make a packed lunch if you need it. You may even get the chance to have a cup of coffee and actually finish it! Resist the urge to sleep in and you’ll thank yourself later. When going out time comes you’ll leave the house feeling calm, organised and like you’ve accomplished before the day has even started.
2. Focus only on the most important tasks
If your To Do list is anything like mine, I’m betting there’s a lot on it but not all of it is urgent? Mine is full of things I’d like to do or think I should be doing. If I’m really honest though, most of it can wait for another day. It’s taken me a while, but I’ve finally learnt that if I want to spend quality time with my boys, I have to let the little things go. I can’t do it all and that’s ok. Now, when the kids are off I only focus on the most important tasks.
If you want to stay on top of things you need to be realistic about what you can do with the time you have. This means prioritising tasks according to importance. It means saving the ‘nice to dos‘ and the ‘I really should’ jobs for when you have more time. When you focus on just the urgent tasks you’ll find it a lot easier to stay on track. You’ll feel under less pressure too which means you’ll also feel less stressed. Take a look at your To Do list and ask yourself:
- Which jobs are the most important?
- What needs to be done right now?
- What can wait until the kids are back at school?
3. Write things down
With the summer break being so busy it’s easy to forget the things you need to do or arrangements you’ve made. I used to be really good at remembering things. Now though, unless it’s written down, I don’t stand a chance! So whether it’s groceries, chores, errands or play dates, everything gets written down. Putting dates in my diary and keeping a running list of the things I need to do saves me from a lot of stress and headache. It also stops me from double booking myself and forgetting things I’ve planned.
Help yourself to stay on track by writing things down. Putting pen to paper frees your mind of mental clutter. Not only will you be able to think more clearly, you’ll also be able to give your kids your full attention without feeling distracted. If you don’t have one already, get yourself a calendar or diary. Create your own master list and add things to it as you think of them. Then focus only on those tasks that really matter and leave the rest until the kids are back at school.
4. Clear as you go
It’s amazing how much tidier the house stays when you put things away after you’ve used them! It’s so easy to say “I’ll do it later” but if you don’t, things can pile up very quickly. This is especially true when the kids are off and at home playing all day. Before you know it, the place is a mess and the thought of tidying it all up is simply exhausting. Save yourself from the unnecessary stress, frustration and hours of clearing up later by putting things away as you go. Try:
- Opening mail straight away
- Putting receipts in a jar or tin instead of leaving them on the side
- Keeping your counters clear
- Washing up while you cook
- Loading the dishwasher as you go
- Taking something upstairs with you each time rather than walking past it
- Putting your clothes in the wash bin at the end of the day instead of on the floor
Encourage your kids to do the same. Adopt the “no more toys out until the others are put away” rule too. My youngest knows he’s not supposed to get something else out until he’s put his other toys away. Granted it doesn’t always go to plan and it can be a bit of a battle, but it does help to keep things relatively tidy.
5. Do a little bit every day
Keeping on top of the housework while the kids are off can be tough. Cleaning the whole house in one go works fine when the kids are at school but this isn’t always possible during the holidays. So when they’re off don’t be afraid of changing how you do things. Try spreading your cleaning out across the week. Help yourself by making the effort to ‘clear the decks’ the night before too. Make washing up, putting on the dishwasher and taking out the bins part of the post-dinner, pre-bedtime routine. Do a little bit every day and aim for done is better than perfect. Give it a try and you’ll really notice the difference.
6. Get ready the night before
School holidays mean lots of days out. But getting the kids out the door in the morning is no easy feat! Save yourself time and stress by getting everything ready the night before. Take the time to think about what you need for the following day. Ask yourself what you can get ready now that will make your life easier. A few minutes getting everything prepped once the kids are in bed can literally save you hours in the morning. Here’s a few things that can be done the night before a busy day:
- Take the dinner out the freezer
- Lay out the clothes you’re planning to wear
- Put a load of laundry in the machine ready to switch on
- Pack the non-perishables part of the packed lunch
- Put out the shoes, coats and keys you’ll need
- Make sure your phone is fully charged
- Write down the postcode for the SatNav
- Set your alarm
- Write a hit list of anything else you need to do
Stay on track while the kids are off this summer…
The key to staying on track is being honest about what you can really achieve with the time you have. It’s about thinking ahead and making the effort to do the things that will save you from stress and headache later. No matter how much we try, we cannot do it all. But if you implement these strategies you’ll find staying on top of things while the kids are off so much easier. Whenever you’re feeling like you’re starting to get behind, remember to:
- Get up early
- Focus only on the most important tasks
- Write things down
- Clear as you go
- Do a little bit every day
- Get ready the night before
That’s it for this post! I hope it has given you a few ideas of the things you can do to stay on track while the kids are off this summer. If you like what you’ve read be sure to subscribe so you never miss a post! Join my tribe and kick-start creating a family life you love right now by filling in your details below. I’ll send you my FREE Daily Planner as a thank-you!
I’d love to know what your biggest takeaway is. What do you do to stay on track over the summer break? Let me know in the comments below!
If you liked this post why not give Make the Most of Your Summer Break in Five Easy Steps a read too. In it I share a few ways you can easily carve out time with one another and make your summer break one to remember.
Until next time…